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Legacy Systems

Intermediate – Computing

Reading Time – 1 minute, 30 seconds

In a computing context, a legacy system is an old technology, computer system, programming language, software, or outdated hardware, yet still in use and does not upgrade. The behaviors and the methodologies of these systems have shaped the emergence of newer updated versions, hence they are called ‘legacy’ systems.

Examples of some legacy systems are, financial applications that deal with a humongous set of data, NASA’s space exploration system and the entire space shuttle system, hardware in power plants, manufacturing machines using MS-DOS, voice mail system and so on.

Due to its old technology, it is extremely difficult to enhance or incorporate new functionality and integrate with the latest technology. Hence, legacy systems will continue to serve the purpose it is built for as it is in the future. However, with the changing world, this stirs up a few problems.

The issues associated with legacy systems

These are some of the common issues associated with legacy systems.

  • The cost incurred in futile maintenance as they are no longer demanded. Like any other system, the maintenance of legacy systems is a must for the perpetuation of business. However, the knowledge and skill to maintain an old system are rare to find and needs a large investment of money and time.
  • Data stuck in silos that are difficult to migrate into new systems. There is a vast difference between old and new technologies. Old data storing mechanisms are not compatible with new ways. Hence, the data sometimes has to stick forever in the old system until a careful migration.
  • Degradation of security and inability to cope up with the latest security challenges.
  • Difficulty in integrating with a new technology that is essential to stand out in today’s competitive world.
  • Compliance with new rules and regulations is much harder. Changing the existing system is tough without skills and proper documentation.

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